There have been a lot of successful hip hop events held at the APK through the past several months, and The Consignment Show presentation, Smashmouth Mentality Showcase proved to one of livest nights yet. Artist’s from Toronto, Waterloo and London came together to show case their talents and show love to other up and coming artists. Hip hop fans who were at the APK Saturday night had the chance to witness some of the best talent Canada has to offer, with a bill consisting of Flex the Antihero, Richie Blackz, Dillanponders, Jimmy B, SeT, Haviah Mighty, Jay Downz, EGAA, The Bass6, and DJ DoubleDown.
The energetic EGAA crew started the night off with the opening set, getting the crowd on their feet instantly. The EGAA crew isn’t your ordinary hip hop collective. With a roster containing photographers, directors, producers and crossover artists in the EDM scene, the EGAA crew has a full arsenal at their disposal. Each member of the EGAA crew came correct to the Smashmouth Showcase, feeding off of each others energy as the emcees traded bars back and forth, giving the crowd exactly what they wanted. Highlights from the set were the crews latest single “Shiningami Smoke” and their hit “Matt Damon”- I never thought that a track centered around an actor from Massachusetts could be such a banger. By the end of their set, the crowd was sold as “E.G.A.A chants” buzzed through the building. Be sure to keep an eye on this crew in the future- who knows where their talent can take them.
If you haven’t heard of Haviah by now, you’re not doing yourself any favors. The Smashmouth Mentality Showcase would be the singer/rapper’s first performance back in London, and fans were excited to witness the homecoming. Getting right down to business, Haviah had the crowd singing along as she started her set with a remix of the Boyz to Men classic,”MotownPhilly.” Haviah’s showed her versatility as an artist as she made the transition from singing to rapping through her tracks “Out the Door,” “We Can’t Be” and her viral cover of Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love.” After engaging the crowd with fun party tracks, Haviah moved into her deeper content, as she performed her thought provoking song, “Imagine.” Haviah then showed fans at the APK her producing talents as she ended her set with a self produced cover of Chris Brown’s track “Loyal.” Londoner’s were ecstatic to have their hometown girl make the trip from Toronto to showcase how far she has come as an artist- an amazing set to say the least.
Following Haviah, London emcee Jay Downz kept the party live as he Del Reze and Jux Cain hit the stage next for the third act. Coming off of the success of his Win or Die mixtape, Downz was ready to give the people a show.Jux Cain’s voice commanded attention as he warmed the crowd up for Jay chanting out “Who here loves hiphop?”With that being said, Downz got into his zone, and proceeded into his set. The lines from Downz track “In This Life” resonated with the crowd. “When they tell lies/Why wouldn’t I remain true” These rhymes allude to what makes Downz aka “The Visionary” authentic, and a truly gifted emcee. Downz had the crowd in the palm of his hand has he ran flawlessly from track to track. Downz turn up track “You Know What’s Up” was one highlight in particular that had fans going ballistic. Staying true to classic hip hop roots Downz, Jux Cain and Del Reze ended their set with acapella freestyles and beat boxing. Be sure to take in as much of Jay Downz music as possible.
In between performances, host Tyler Hetherington and DJ DoubleDown held the party down at the APK as a series of free prizes were handed out to hip hop heads who could name the instrumentals spun by DoubleDown. Prizes included a Gift Certificate from NYC Stylez, women’s hip hop shirts, two hats from The Jump Off, FTP T-shirts and a signed poster from all artists. One special winner got the set list for the night tagged by almost everyone who helped put the show together.
SeT of CReW was the next performer to hit the stage. Partying hard before his performance, the Smashmouth representative channeled the stage presence of Old Dirty Bastard as he delivered his rhymes, taking an already successful show to the next level. SeT really connected with the audience as he made his way through the crowd rapping his verses and giving props to everyone in sight. The majority of SeT’s performance was off of his upcoming AuRa project, and after performing his latest track “Bounce,” SeT hinted at dropping a video for the track sometime in the beginning of April. Between tracks SeT let loose chatting up the crowd, and sipping drinks that were handed to him from the fans. SeT’s nonchalant demeanor on the mic makes him an exciting performer to watch live. Hip hop is meant to be a fun experience for everyone participating-watching SeT’s performance reminded the crowd that hip hop truly is feel good music. Be sure to take in the Toronto emcee’s material to gain a better understanding of how talented SeT truly is.
Taking the stage next, Jimmy B showed everyone what a SmashMouth Music Group show is all about. Being his first time in London, you know he was about to get wild. With his project L.O.R.D.S just recently dropping, Jimmy B performed songs like “Fuck It Yo”, “Finals”, “F.T.B.S”. Really showing London how he gets down in the GTA. Talking to him before hand, Jimmy B was genuinely excited to hit the stage and it showed as he had the whole crowd repeating phrases, throwing their hands up in the air. Afterwards snapping some pictures with everyone and joining the crowd to witness the rest of the show. If you didn’t know who Jimmy B was coming into the show on Saturday, you left with one catch phrase stuck in your head, “Fuck It Yo”. Jimmy B made sure the city of London knew what he was all about and we can’t wait to see him back again!
Dillan Ponder’s hit the stage after his teammate SeT to perform his solo set. From the dreadlocks to the plaid on plaid Ponder’s hit the stage looking like the rap Kurt Cobain. Ponder’s set consisted of a run through of his Numb mixtape which was released through Smashmouth Entertainment and mix down by Ponder’s himself. Dillan’s style of rap is in a lane of it’s own- the complexity of his rhymes fit the mystique of his image- listeners at the APK paid close attention to every rhyme, because most of the bars he spat were over the average rap fans head. Highlights from Ponder’s set were “Numb” and “Ride”- these two tracks in particular had the crowd hooked for sure.
With the intensity on max, and the night still far from over, London’s own Richie Blackz got up on stage and gave a little motivational speech, talking to everyone from the city and everyone out there trying to make something of themselves. Jumping right into “Work”, a great segway coming off his speech. Bringing up his partner Swaggz as Richie performed his smash hit “London Town”, the entire building was jumping up and down, getting hype as ever, singing along. Though it was only the beginning. Bringing up Casper to perform their track off the Marcus Morris Mixtape 4, “Let’s Get Weird”. With DJ DoubleDown on the 1’s and 2’s it was only right them two got together to perform this epic track. By this time everyone was screaming “Let’s Get Weird”. Dropping a few more tracks off Le Renaissance , Richie had APK in it’s entirety going nuts. Overall I’ve never seen any show have that venue as live as it was, and Flex hadn’t even hit the stage yet!
Headlining the entire show, Flex took control of the mic jumping right into the intro off his solo project, SALEM. Everyone packed to the front of the stage not wanting to miss a single second, those who knew the “The Burbs” rapped along, and every smoker in the room were in their prime when DillanPonders jumped back on stage with Flex to perform “Medicated”. Bottles were being poured, on stage and off. Looking around you could tell everyone was having an amazing time, whether you knew the music or not, you were instantly captured in the moment. Rocking tracks like “Violet” and “Big Dreams” closing off the night, Flex was up on stage giving it his all, a true artist all around. He even had the whole SmashMouth conglomerate on stage at one point. If this was your first Flex performance, as it was for myself, you would get the impression Flex is a rockstar after seeing his set, performing at The APK like it was a sold out Rogers Centre.
Starting off with a bang and building intensity as the night progressed, every set went smoothly, with great crowd interaction. The APK being one of the smaller venues in London, it’s always a great spot for an intimate show and that’s exactly what it was. Artist’s hitting the stage, joining the crowd and there were even a ton of shots going around at one point, so you know it was live. Our friend Tyler from The Consignment Show really put together a great line up of artist’s and speaking to almost everyone personally, not one concert goer left that building disappointed. The only question that lingered is, “when are they coming back?”. We’ve seen a ton of amazing shows here in London so far to kick off the year, though the SmashMouth Mentality show at The APK was by far one of the best this year!
Check out all the photos make sure to scroll right!
Photography by Eddy Rissling for The Come Up Show.
Review written by Colton B and Mike Kivell.